Earlier this week we looked at hitter’s who were struggling in the luck department in June (click here to view the article), so today let’s look at the pitchers who have been plagued with poor luck and determine if there are any buy low candidates (the BABIP statistic is through Tuesday):

1. Mark Buehrle – Chicago White Sox – .421
His struggles were more focused earlier in the month (12 ER over 8.1 in two starts), then in his last two starts (3-0, 4 ER over 20.0 IP). It’s been a season-long slump really, with a 4.60 ERA and 1.43 WHIP. He’s better then that, though, and we all know it. Yes, he doesn’t offer much in the strikeout department, but all the other numbers should significantly improve. He doesn’t walk many (2.1 BB/9), so his full year .326 BABIP is causing the inflated WHIP. When the luck changes, the overall numbers will come down.  He’s not a pitcher that you want if you are in need of Ks, but if you need a solid pitcher to fill out your rotation, he’s worth buying.

2. Kevin Millwood – Baltimore Orioles – .414
He’s had ERAs above 4.50 in three of the last four years, so seeing him with a 5.12 ERA this season shouldn’t be a surprise. Yes, his BABIP for the full year is .330, so there’s some bad luck, but that’s not enough to sell him to me. I wouldn’t touch him in any format, barring a trade to a contender.

3. Tommy Hanson – Atlanta Braves – .403
The bulk of this comes from his disastrous start earlier this week (9 ER and 13 H over 3.2 IP). He’s proven prone to these types of starts, with this being the second time he’s allowed at least 8 ER in a start. Despite that, we all know how good he is between those bad starts so there’s nothing to worry about. My guess is there’s no chance you are able to buy low on him anyways.

4. Felipe Paulino – Houston Astros – .390
He’s been unlucky all year long, with a .338 BABIP and 61.4 percent strand rate. While it’s easy to point to those numbers, as well as high upside in the strikeout department (8.0 K/9 in ‘10 with a 8.6 K/9 in ‘09) as reasons to buy him, you have to be careful. His control is not a pretty sight, with a BB/9 of 4.5 (and 4.3 over his minor league career). Unless he is going to improve there, the risk is going to be too great, especially pitching for a non-contender.

5. Ervin Santana – Los Angeles Angels – .385
The bad luck this month has seemingly brought his BABIP back to a normal level (.319 for ‘10 vs. .320 for ‘09). Granted, that’s still below average, but a 78.1 percent strand rate is above average as well. The biggest thing to point to, however, is his line drive rate, currently at 23.3 percent. His career worst prior to this year was 19.8 percent, so you have to think that he is going to improve there. If that number normalizes, he’s going to greatly improve (offsetting any regression in his strand rate). He plays for a team that should win games. If someone in your league is selling at a good price, I would buy.

6. Wade Davis – Tampa Bay Rays – .378
It’s not just June that he’s been struggling, as he currently is sporting a 4.90 ERA and 1.51 WHIP for the year.  It’s interesting that he’s had poor luck in BABIP and strand rate (61.7 percent) in June, because overall his numbers are at .295 and 75.6 percent.  So, while things should get better this month, overall his performance isn’t based on luck.  You can hope for an improvement in strikeouts (6.2 K/9, significantly below his minor league career mark of 8.7) and walks (4.2), but there’s no guarantee there. There’s a chance he ends up in back to Triple-A with Jeremy Hellickson looming. I’m not going to be buying here.

7t. Ricky Nolasco – Florida Marlins – .372
Does this guy ever have luck for an extended period of time? We all remember his struggles last season, and we all also know that he has the stuff to be one of the best pitchers in the game. He has great control (1.9 BB/9), so if someone is selling, I’m buying.

7t. R.A. Dickey – New York Mets – .372
Considering he’s won six straight starts (and is 4-0 in June), it’s  amazing to find his name on the list of pitcher’s suffering from poor luck (though his strand rate now stands at 82.2 percent). What he’s doing is limiting the walks (2.7 BB/9). While I’m not trading for him, if he’s still on the waiver wire, why not? Ride the wave while you can. The chances are he hits a large bump sooner or later so be cautious.

9. Wandy Rodriguez – Houston Astros – .363
For the entire year he’s had terrible luck, with a .354 BABIP and 60.1 percent strand rate.  His strikeouts are down (6.2 K/9 vs. 8.5 last year). His walks are up (4.1 BB/9 vs. 2.8), though. Unless he’s hurt, you have to think that the luck will turn. Still, the struggles have gone on long enough that I’m not giving up a significant piece to get him. If you can get him for pennies on the dollar, then why not? If he’s on the waiver wire, then sure. That’s about it, though.

10. Johnny Cueto – Cincinnati Reds – .360
He showed yesterday how talented he was (7.0 IP, 0 ER, 7 H, 2 BB, 4 K) in a win over the A’s. The problem is, he’s struggled in the second half (5.05 ERA after the All Star Break in ‘08 and 5.81 ERA in ‘09). Overall, the numbers have not been lucky or unlucky, so you have to think he is what he is. This could be the year he is solid all year long, but given his history I wouldn’t take the risk unless someone is selling cheap.

What are your thoughts on these players? Is there anyone you are trying to buy? Anyone you are ignoring completely?


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